Daily vacations make life easier

Published 7:15 pm Friday, June 5, 2009

The longer I work in the newspaper business, the more I learn the value of taking time for yourself.

The problem is that the longer I work in the newspaper business, I learn the difficulty of finding time to take time for yourself.

It’s a very unfortunate Catch-22.

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I want a vacation. Seriously. I want a legitimate vacation where I have a good week or so in which I do nothing related to newspaper stuff. I have started the early stages of planning a road trip to San Diego. We’ll see if and when that comes to fruition.

Why San Diego? I don’t know. But San Diego I hope it will be.

Nonetheless, given the uncertain nature of such a vacation, I can’t exactly wait for a year or more to give myself a mental break. So, I do little things here and there and take in live music as I’m able. But even that can get very cumbersome with the wide-open schedule the business often requires.

So what are you to do?

Well, what I am finding is the importance of finding something little to do each day to give myself a mental break.

I think I learned this from watching Jason Cannon.

He’ll often start his day off by spending five minutes playing one of the inane Facebook games that seems to occupy our minds from time to time. He’ll spend five minutes checking them at lunch and then again before he goes home.

If it isn’t that, it will often just be reading an ESPN.com article or something of that nature.

On deadline days, we quiz each other with random trivial facts about music or sports. Laugh all you want, but it helps pass the time.

One night, it was the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon that occupied our time. If you don’t know that game, you probably shouldn’t. And I’m still not entirely convinced that game didn’t have something to do with the promotion of former co-worker John Few.

But some days, it’s even hard to squeeze these things into the work day. So then, it has to be left to something else.

For me, it is often the simple things that are the most rejuvenating.

It can be anything from getting up in the morning and playing basketball — which I’ve begun doing lately — to turning on SportsCenter for about a half hour.

But then again, there is nothing quite as special as the mindless task of walking into your own home and sitting on your own couch and thinking of nothing in particular.

I think the need for a break is a pretty natural thing for all of us.

If we continue to press forward without giving ourselves a break once in a while, the quality of our work — not to mention our lives — begins to suffer. So, in a way, it is the times we do nothing that drives us to doing something.

Jeremy D. Smith is sports editor for the Demopolis Times.